(Summary of The Kingdom Summit 2014 Session by Femi Atoyebi)
DOING BUSINESS – KINGDOM STYLE
Let’s take a look at some features of doing business in the Kingdom style.
The starting point of a kingdom business ought to be vision casting! Too many people start enterprises with no clear idea about its purpose. Questions like ‘Do we intend to make a profit? Is it a lawful purpose?’ must be well thought out and established. Another common problem in many businesses is its short lifespan. The business dies an abrupt and swift death after the lifetime of the owner. It’s very pertinent that our purpose survives us so that it benefits others too.
- IS MAKING PROFIT OKAY?
In a nutshell, profit means excess on investment.
Even though a Christian’s ultimate aim of running a business must be to glorify God, it does not mean making profit is unscriptural and unholy. In Luke 19:13, Jesus narrates a parable where He endorses doing business. It says, ‘So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come’. He elaborates this further in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-25. The boss handed over five, three and two talents respectively to his employees and asked them to invest it. The first two employees worked hard and reaped 100% profit. The third man buried it!! Jesus described the third man as being slothful!
We are called to trade and make profits.
- WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE PROFIT?
God is glorified when we use the profits of our business for the needs of the body of Christ. The body includes not just the church but other less privileged people created by God. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus instructs us ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’. Paul also says in Ephesians 4:27, ‘Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need’. Jesus Himself remarked in Matthew 25:40 that, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’. We can take a leaf out of the example of the Catholic Church’s in this regard. They serve the poor, destitute and needy around them selflessly and tirelessly! Let us also use the profits that God blesses us with to adopt institution and people who are not privileged enough and bless them. In doing so is God glorified!
Let me tell you an incident that happened in this regard. I met a doctor who sought my help. He said that his ministry was to take in abandoned babies and care for them. He told me about a baby girl whom he took in some 20 odd years back. Today, she had grown up and graduated as a doctor!! The fact that struck me the most was that this young girl didn’t need a louder Gospel preached to her. The doctor sitting before me had demonstrated God’s love to her in the best manner possible!! That’s God’s calling to each one of us too!
Psalm 1 talks about a blessed man. The Psalmist says that a blessed man of God is a man of principles! He lives his life with integrity and obedience to God. We may think that cutting a corner here or bending a rule there won’t make a difference. After all we are tithing and supporting God’s ministry, right?
Well, it matters to God! He cares about the principles and standards that we follow.
A lot of people in the western countries are struggling to make ends meet because they are loaded with skyrocketing mortgages! A lot of them lied and manipulated the system assuming that they wouldn’t be caught. No matter whoever we trick, we can never ever escape from One person; the Holy Spirit. He lives in our hearts and convicts our conscience every time we follow the corrupt worldly standards. Hebrews 4:13 says that, ‘And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account’. One day we will have to give an account to God for every action and deed!
Jesus was a businessman of sorts. His business was to save the sinners and make them His followers. He had a strategy for His business. When He started out His ministry formally at the age of 30 years, Jesus called twelve unschooled and ignorant people to be his followers. Over a period of three years, without any formal MBA training, He trained them to become people who turned the world upside down! Infact Acts 4:13 says that, ‘Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus’. What a testimony!
It must be the motto of every Christian businessman to build his employees up. Instead of ridiculing them and giving up on them, let us invest in them and bless them.
Lastly, another important aspect of a kingdom business is provision. When God entrusts us with a vision, we can be certain that He has set in store the provision to realize the vision. The word ‘pro’ refers to ‘before’. He goes before us and our vision. In 1 Kings 17, when God sent Elijah into the desert, He provided for Him by sending ravens with food for Him. Let’s take heart and believe that if God sends us, he will provide for us.